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      Project Overview ~ Form courtesy of Buck Institute for Education (www.bie.org)                     page 1


Team members: 

 Jason, Mike, Genn, Telannia, Ninoska, Merrie



Name of Project:


Fight For Your Life




30 hours?



Grade Level:

9 (Possibly Middle and 10 to 12th)

Other Subject Areas to Be Included:

Technology, Algebra I, Science, Social Studies


Project Idea

Summary of the challenge, investigation, scenario, problem, or issue:


YouTube plugin error


Fight for your life: water wars.  The Gulf Oil Spill is only the latest disaster to affect massive amounts of water, the source of life. Look at droughts as well as floods in our Nation and in the world, accidents like the Gulf spill, Chernobyl and more, and you'll see more and more that the world is in a simmering war over water.  What about where you live?  What are the challenges to your community's water, our nation's water and what plans are there for it?  Will you need to fight for your "life", and how?


Students from each participating state will create some type of action relative to their area of study and the challenges in their area. Students will collaboratively create a multimedia presentation of some kind (website, PSA) that serves as a motivator, something that creates a sense of urgency about issues that they discover. (Could we use a differentiated 2-5-8 Menu empathizing technology)  In addition, they should deliver a summary of existing or proposed plans/resolutions for their community to possibly some local officials.  (Students can choose to define "community" as broad or narrow as they'd like.)

Driving Question

What are the challenges to the United State's water, and what plans are there for it?  Will you need to fight for your "life", and how?

Content and Skills Standards to be addressed:

Addresses most of the NETS for Students, but we can get more specific.  They will be using technology for some type of product, need to collaborate, research genuine information, use critical thinking and decision making, etc.


Those participating can put in their subject area standards as examples.

Web Design/Internet Essentials Standards -

1. search for information and evalute search results 

2. examine Internet security issues and recognize the importance of working in a secure environment

3. evaluate, compare and contrast websites 

4. design and create a basic website


Algebra I

1. Use the formulas from measurable attributes of geometric models (perimeter, circumference, area and volume), science, and statistics to solve problems within an algebraic context.

2. Solve two-step and three-step problems using concepts such as rules of exponents, rate, distance, ratio and proportion, and percent.


American Government 

1. C.12.6 Identify and analyze significant political benefits, problems, and solutions to problems related to federalism and the separation of powers. (Should water be a state resource or a national resource. 


2. C.12.11 Evaluate the ways in which public opinion can be used to influence and shape public policy ( In which ways are the governors of the great lakes states influenced by public opinion in relation to the use of great lakes water)


Language Arts (9th Grade)

10a: apply knowledge of the concept that the theme or meaning of a selection represents a universal view or comment on life or society and provide support from the text for the identified theme
10b: evaluate how an author’s choice of words advances the theme or purpose of a work
10c: apply knowledge of the concept that a text can contain more than one theme



Earth Science / Ecology / Biology

CA Science Standards  (Grade 9-12) 

  •  Ecology: 6c
  •  California Geology: 9a,c
  •  Investigation & Experimentation: a,f, g, h, m, n


1. Identify and apply knowledge of the concepts of the biogeochemical cycles, ecological succession, ecosystems, diversity, and the affects of pH change in water systems, to observations of changes in local water availability, water quality, and current heavy metal and pollution levels in comparison to earliest reported measurements available.


2. Using local EPA's "Learn the Issues" page, students will research the EPA's concerns surrounding Water.  Students will select one of these issues to delve deeply into AND will be asked to link this choice to one of the other concerns the EPA has highlighted as it relates to water in their locality.


3. Evaluate the effectiveness of the steps being taken by local, state, and federal agencies to address these concerns. Identify departments and officials responsible for implementing steps studied.


4. Identify, contact and correspond with scientists from around the globe who are working on a problem similar to the class-identified concerns.


5.  Identify and analyze potential solutions to the problems identified using global examples  or novel ideas.


6.  Design an implementation plan for community water concerns and present these ideas, together with research-supported evidence, to local, state and federal agencies for consideration for implementation.













21st Century Skills explicitly taught and assessed (T+A) or encouraged (E) by project work, but not taught or assessed:

















Critical Thinking:








Culminating Products & Performances



Present findings about local water issues in an interesting and motivational way that demonstrates potential strengths and threats to community (town, state, region) water supply, and a plan of action.


Note for discussion: could be a game, or "Dan Brown fiction" series, or multimedia product, up to the student.  What seems key is that it is "motivational/inspirational/convincing"


Would like to see approximately 4 stages:

- Group formed, with general outline of approach and plan for next steps, deadlines

- Initial draft of products and information gathered, and next plan/deadlines

- Second, more prepared draft of products and final steps plan

- Final products and presentation

- Summative assessment to follow, for comparison to district benchmarks.

 Presentation Audience

  Presentation Audience:












Research the local region's water situation. 

Find e-mail partner from a different region to discuss the similarities and differences between the regions water needs. Share their resources. with others in team. 







      Project Overview ~ Form courtesy of Buck Institute for Education (www.bie.org)                     page 2


Entry Event to

launch inquiry

and engage students:


Maybe show something like the video linked above, there are many impressive videos that express the challenges to the world's water supply.   It's important to have the students choose the size of their "community", and their project products.  It's also important to make them see they can create an authentic awareness tool and possible solution.


Formative Assessments

(During Project)



Practice Presentations


Journal/Learning Log





Preliminary Plans/Outlines/Prototypes





Rough Drafts


Concept Maps



Online Tests/Exams





Summative Assessments

(End of Project)

Written Product(s), with rubric:




Other Product(s) or Performance(s), with



Oral Presentation, with rubric


Peer Evaluation



Multiple Choice/Short Answer Test





Essay Test








Resources Needed

On-site people, facilities:






Community resources:



Reflection Methods

(check all that will be used)

Journal/Learning Log



Focus Group



Whole-Class Discussion




Fishbowl Discussion












Comments (14)

Kristin Hoins said

at 9:41 pm on Jul 19, 2010

I'm really interested in joining this group as a technology teacher supporting classroom teachers in integrating technology. I'd like to suggest that we create a central blog or ning in which students and teachers in intermediate school grades 3-6 share their resources, learning process, research journey, and final projects in a setting in which they can collaborate, communicate, comment, discuss and share. I'd be happy to set up the central Blog/Ning for us all to use. Let me know what you think.

shirfarr said

at 4:37 pm on Jul 20, 2010

I love your project idea and would love to "steal/borrow" it to use for a concept-based unit for grades 3-5. Do you mind?

Mike Reilly said

at 7:26 pm on Jul 20, 2010

If you're looking to "leverage" the project above, go for it! I'd love to see what you do with it. Sounds like you might want to work together (Kristin and shirfarr), sharing the 3-5 grade level. I'm personally looking to do 9-12 grade range, and fully expect things like a water plan for a town/county, for real.

Deirdre Harrison said

at 2:09 pm on Jul 21, 2010

I'd like to join this group and am interested one outcome- a performance piece/multi media production. Could that fit into your vision?

Mike Reilly said

at 3:27 am on Jul 22, 2010

I think the student product is the student choice, ideally, so anyone could use this work. I'm actually considering using this as a first project starting August 9th (we start early), and my students will produce Google Sites with lots of media. I had a call with one other teammate yesterday, and I think we're going to be okay with using this project with a large group. Just have to figure out how to "crowdsource" a project outline.

Genovefa said

at 10:55 am on Jul 29, 2010

Jason, I like your idea about using Google Sites. And I wholeheartedly agree, student choice is imperative for a sense of student ownership. With the students producing something tangible, assessments using a rubric are immediate and they have something to add to a portfolio or parlay into a future project in later years.

suzieboss@... said

at 12:35 pm on Jul 22, 2010

Hi all,
What a rich topic! I'll be eager to see the various directions you go with this. Mike, nice to hear you emphasizing student choice right from the start.
Here's a site that looks at water from a global perspective: http://waterwiki.net
I'm curious how literature teachers might come at this. What are the great books that explore water wars theme? (Anyone else a fan of Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic, Dune?)
Good luck!

Mike Reilly said

at 2:35 am on Jul 28, 2010

And of course, for "star power", maybe we could beg Matt Damon, co-founder of water.org for a video message, maybe even Q&A? I might actually try this during August. (We start Aug. 9)

Genovefa said

at 10:58 pm on Jul 29, 2010

I think we should ask Matt Damon about that. Many big stars are pretty cool about doing stuff like this. Let's see how this all works and consider that as icing on the cake. Remember, Matt Damon may not be such a big star to our students.

Jason said

at 11:34 pm on Jul 28, 2010

UN declares clean water a 'fundamental human right'


Genovefa said

at 10:44 am on Jul 29, 2010

Hi Everyone. This is an well-crafted site. I've started fleshing out portions for a science class. Turns out I'll be teaching Integrated science for a month. This may be immediately useful.

Genovefa said

at 10:50 am on Jul 29, 2010

Jason, the article from the UN on Water is interesting.

"Abstaining countries said the resolution could undermine a process in the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva to build a consensus on
water rights".

What i thought was very interesting were the countries abstaining and their reasons. I also appreciated the comment regarding what the resolutions means in relation to obligations of this resolution. These are very good questions that could be explored with the scope of social studies and global economics. Good link.

Mike Reilly said

at 7:34 am on Jul 31, 2010

For anyone interested, we've diverted away from this template page to a Google Site:


suzieboss@... said

at 12:46 pm on Aug 3, 2010

Here's some interesting news from Charity:Water: http://www.charitywater.org/blog/humanright/

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